Today we're talking with Tim Warnock, author of Dive Log - Discovering Life Under the Sea
FQ: Can you tell readers about your very first dive? Why it was something you wanted to do, and how it felt the first time to take that risk?
I have a hard time sitting still. My wife and I were fortunate to be spending two weeks on Grand Cayman Island. Our condominium was across the street from a small dive shop, and I walked in and asked about learning to scuba dive. The owner told me that I could take a resort-course that would allow me to go no deeper than twenty feet, and I had to be accompanied by a certified instructor during the dive. I reported for training the next morning. After classroom instruction and training in a swimming pool, we jumped into the ocean for our first “open water” dive. I was nervous. The piece of equipment that delivers air to the diver is called a regulator. I was so nervous during my first dive that I not only clenched the mouthpiece in my teeth, but I also used one hand to hold the regulator to make sure that the “reg” did not slip out of my mouth.
FQ: The underwater photography was just stunning. Have you ever thought of giving up your day job and doing that full time?
Thank you, but no. Those pictures were taken using a Cannon point-and-shoot camera in an underwater housing. The really stunning underwater photos are taken with sophisticated SLR cameras with multiple flashes attached.
FQ: What is your absolute favorite location to dive?
My absolute favorite dive was off the coast of Curacao adjacent to the Lions Dive and Beach Resort. We were on a cruise, but the resort looks like a wonderfully relaxing place to stay.
FQ: And…what is one location that you would LOVE to dive into?
I understand that the diving off the coast of Thailand is spectacular.
FQ: I know you have received your Master Scuba Diver Certification as well as your Rescue Diver Certification. Is that a difficult process if someone wanted to begin to head towards that goal? Is it perhaps like flying? You have to log in a certain amount of time?
I believe that Master Scuba Diver requires 100 dives. I found the certification process the perfect way to enjoy my hobby while developing additional skills. The Rescue Diver course will likely increase any diver’s confidence to deal with emergencies on the boat or in the water. PADI – the agency through which I am trained – also requires short Specialty Courses, such as Deep Diving, Wreck Diving and Underwater Navigation. Learning how to make those dives safely and develop those skills through training by certified instructors gave me a great sense of comfort in making repeat dives of the same type without an instructor.
FQ: Is Divemaster the ultimate destination?
When I started writing Dive Log, achieving Divemaster was my ultimate goal. In order to qualify for Divemaster, I would have to devote at least two weeks to working with a dive shop, and I cannot make that time commitment presently. I would still like to achieve Divemaster eventually.
FQ: As far as fear and safety are concerned, have you ever felt at risk or have something happen during a dive that was frightening?
I hope that I always remain aware of the risks associated with diving each time that I get in the water. Otherwise, I could take something for granted or generally be less careful than I like and need to be. Being vigilant, of course, is not the same as being afraid, but being afraid is sometimes unavoidable. As far as something frightening, I have been on some pretty rough boat rides and watched people have a difficult time getting back on board a boat in rough seas.
FQ: You speak the words “safety of dive shops” many times in the book. What is a dive shop? And how does one know that they’re safe?
A dive shop is the term in the diving industry for the storefront of the organization that provides the equipment, hires the Divemasters, runs the boats and, usually, sells gear, tee shirts and other mementos of that particular dive trip. If the gear is sloppily stored or appears to be poorly maintained, that reflects to me that the entire organization may be sloppy or disorganized. That, in turn, suggests to me less concern for the patrons’ safety than a dive shop that is well organized and clean.
FQ: What is the strangest sight you’ve every seen on a dive?
The strangest thing that I have seen on a dive is a divemaster who had been scuba diving for forty years picking the anchor of the dive boat out of the sand and swimming with it until he found a site that better suited him. It paid off; I saw the largest ray that I have ever seen a few minutes after he redeposited the anchor into the sand.
FQ: And, a personal question, what on earth is a raccoon butterfly fish?